Sonny’s Blue is one of the earliest work of James Baldwin. It was initially published in 1957 and included in collection of 1965 with the title of “Going to meet the Man”. Sonny’s Blue is a story of redemption, community and suffering. The use of jazz music and blues was notable that conveys importance of self-expression, art, heritage and communication. Before the reader fully understand about what is happening in the story, the use of frightening and imagery, like the ice water in the narrator’s veins suggests that something terrible has happened in the story.
The obligation toward Brotherly love
The mother of narrator asks him to look after his brother. Since the death of Sonny’s mother he has been into drugs. The clashes aroused and those became so tensed that Sonny actually said to his brother to consider him as dead from that point on. The narrator turned his back on Sonny but he did not fulfilled the commandment given by his mother to look after your brother. In the end of the story, narrator took back his brother from the prison and fulfilled the commandment that he will look after Sonny. He consistently watched over Sonny so that he will not get himself again into drugs and stuff.
“Yet, when he smiled, when we shook hands, the baby brother I’d never known looked out from the depths of his private life, like an animal waiting to be coaxed into the light.”
The Narrator made this observation when Sonny got out from the prison. The Prison experience for Sonny was very tough and hellish. Drug addiction experience of Sonny was hell as well. Both these experiences altered the life of Sonny but he remained the same person from the heart that he has always been. The narrator realized at this point that whatever Sonny has become now is somehow his mistake that he did not look after him properly. Sonny is physically free now but the question remained that whether he’s free from that painful drug life or not (Baldwin, 2010). The life at the prison for Sonny was a horrifying experience. He often use to think about what he wanted to become and what he has become now. The narrator somehow realized that if he had given attention to his brother and looked after him in a mature way, things would have been different. In the end of story he realized his fault and is now more focused on fulfilling his responsibility and the commandment given to him by his mother.
“All that hatred down there,” he said. “All that hatred and misery and love. It’s a wonder it doesn’t blow the avenue apart.”
When Sonny got out from the prison, he observed above stated feeling outside the window down the street. He just passed out a religious revival that says that even the bigger sins have been forgiven. The story of Baldwin is neither fully amazing nor terrible but the mixture of love and hatred. The avenue Sonny was referring to was one of the important streets of Harlem. Baldwin, in his story wrote mostly about it (Baldwin, 2010). Sonny, after serving his imprisonment at the prison realized that this is not the life he had a dream of. Although, from the inside he is the same innocent and helping person that he was.
For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn’t any other tale to tell, it’s the only light we’ve got in all this darkness.
Sonny’s Blue is a story of suffering and triumph. This claim holds true for the statement that is written above. Baldwin had a strong belief that these are the things he should write about, threw out his career he has repeated these themes again and again. Each exploration in the story reveals the true hardships and cruelty of life. Art becomes the savior, Sonny tried this with his music. Music is the symphony of life (Baldwin, 2010). There’s always some light in the dark. In this story art was playing a role of light in the darkness. Narrator now wants Sonny to play his music so that he keep out himself from getting into trouble again.
The Prevelance of Rage and Fury
The narrator of the story repeatedly tells the conceived rage among the people around him throughout the story. Fury and rage are the products with limited opportunities. In the start of the story, narrator tells that his students are “Filled with Rage”. They exactly know about the limited opportunities they have and that particular rage will destroy their lives. This rage is equally present in the streets of Harlem. The narrator observed “furious” as a man who dropped a change into the bucket of church. The fury that lies in the daily life of Harlem is clear everywhere, even in the religious revival held on streets. From the start , till the end of the story music played an important role in defining the characters of the story. Sonny always wanted to become a musician but that certainly not his brother wanted for him. The music that Sonny played was more focused on soul.
Baldwin, James, and Jack London. Sonny’s Blues. Difusión, Centro de Investigación y Publicaciones de Idiomas, 2010.